…that you send to Paris & gather up and translate the insanest of the newspaper articles which appeared there between the first announcement of the Dreyfus business & his arrival in his Pacific island captivity.
To these should be added some of the insanest of these recent articles protesting against the re-opening of the case. Also a few rational articles, if there have been any.
And then the first articles that may appear the day after the Esterhazy verdict is announced.
Of course I am expecting the verdict to go against Esterhazy—it must go against him; then we shall have the finest real-life romance since Tichborne. The Dreyfus trial gave France a noble chance to make herself & her newspapers ridiculous; the Esterhazy episode gives them another. Together they ought to make a showy exhibition of the French backside. A book of those windy French editorials ought to be luxurious reading-matter now, & be a selling book. Is this your opinion too?
Sam listed a few items that should be included and suggested a “cheap book.” He also asked that they send the London Chronicle to his hotel for the next five months. As an afterthought he added if Esterhazy was not convicted and the effort to reopen the Dreyfus case failed, there still might be a book in it [MTP]. Note: High- ranking military officers suppressed evidence in Esterhazy’s trial, leading to his acquittal after a short two-day trial. In Jan. 1898 Emile Zola would join the fray. Ultimately, Dreyfus would be exonerated and reinstated in the French army. Chatto discouraged Sam from such a book, citing a lack of interest in England at the time; on Feb. 8 Sam wrote Chatto again bemoaning his lost opportunity; he’d written one chapter and then put the MS away after Chatto’s evaluation.
Sam also replied to Joe Twichell’s Nov. 2, noting the Hotel Metropole was their private and permanent address and he needn’t send letters via London. Sam answered he’d “be very glad to have a look at the illustrations of the Irish-Dog-Daly story,” which was “a favorite yarn” of his. (The story was from the mid- 1880s when he tried to gain entrance to the side theater door to see Augustin Daly, and was stopped by a big Irish doorman with a St. Bernard dog. See Fatout p.222).
Sam was also obliged for articles Joe sent on Austria-Hungary by Forrest (not further unidentified):
I have just finished reading the first one; & in it I find that his opinion & Vienna’s are the same, upon a point which was puzzling me—the paucity (no, the absence) of Austrian celebrities. He and Vienna both say the country cannot afford to allow great names to grow up; that the whole safety & prosperity of the Empire depend upon keeping things quiet; can’t afford to have geniuses springing up & developing ideas and stirring the public soul. I am assured that every time a man finds himself blooming into fame, they just softly snake him down & relegate him to a wholesome obscurity. It is curious and interesting.
Sam gave some examples and then bemoaned Livy’s being “laid up with rheumatism” for a “perfectly terrible 24 hours.” She was better now and they had a good doctor. Clara was “working faithfully” at her music and Jean “at her usual studies” [MTP].
November 20 Saturday – At the Metropole Hotel, Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Percy Spalding of Chatto & Windus. He sent his poem, “In Memoriam” for Susy. Livy needed 50 copies of, together with a large photo of Susy; he was tardy in requesting these copies [MTP]. See Nov. 30? To C&W.
The Critic (New York), p.307, ran a brief item on Mark Twain. Tenney: “On MT in Vienna, his speech before the Concordia literary association in broken German, narrowly escaping being photographed while inspecting the royal box at the new Burgtheater, and his plans to remain in Vienna for approximately eight months” . Note: see Oct. 19 entry.
Harper’s Weekly p.1146 ran “This Busy World.” Tenney: “A brief note on MT cites a newspaper story on a banquet in his honor in Vienna and quotes a Times (London, n.d.) story on his attendance at a stormy all-night session of the Austrian parliament” .
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.